Recording "Helter Skelter"

Tuesday, September 10, 1968 • For The Beatles

Part of


"The Beatles" (aka the White Album) sessions

May 30 - Oct 18, 1968 • Songs recorded during this session appear on The Beatles (Mono)

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the The Beatles (Mono) LP.
Timeline More from year 1968
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Master album


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About

This was the second day of work on this remake of “Helter Skelter“, the basic track having been recorded the day before. As George Martin was on holiday for most of September 1968, Chris Thomas produced this session.

On this day, from 7 pm to 3 am, The Beatles added overdubs which included lead and backing vocals, a lead guitar part by Harrison, a trumpet played by Mal Evans, piano, further drums, and “mouth sax” created by Lennon blowing through a saxophone mouthpiece.

The first version of this one played for 24 minutes, but the finished one you’ll hear on the LP is no longer than average. Paul sings this in his screaming rock voice and the backing features The Two Harrys on brass. That’s Mal Evans on trumpet and John Lennon on saxophone! When we did the final version of this in the second week of September I made a note in my diary that The Beatles were the first people to use a brand-new 8-track recording machine just installed at the EMI Studios. Theme of the song’s lyrics? Boy to girl: “Do you don’t you want me to love you?” John plays bass which is unusual.

Mal Evans – From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°64, November 1968

The mono mix would be made on September 17, and the stereo mix on October 12.

Last updated on September 11, 2021

Songs recorded


1.

Helter Skelter

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 21

Staff

Musicians on Helter Skelter

Paul McCartney:
Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Tenor sax, Backing vocals, Piano
George Harrison:
Electric guitar, Backing vocals
Mal Evans:
Trumpet

Production staff

Chris Thomas:
Producer
Ken Scott:
Engineer
John Smith:
Second Engineer

The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions • Mark Lewisohn

The definitive guide for every Beatles recording sessions from 1962 to 1970.

We owe a lot to Mark Lewisohn for the creation of those session pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - the number of takes for each song, who contributed what, a description of the context and how each session went, various photographies... And an introductory interview with Paul McCartney!

The Beatles Bible

If we like to think, in all modesty, that the Paul McCartney Project is the best online ressource for everything Paul McCartney, The Beatles Bible is for sure the definitive online site focused on the Beatles. There are obviously some overlap in terms of content between the two sites, but also some major differences in terms of approach.

Have a look at https://www.beatlesbible.com/1968/09/10/recording-helter-skelter-2/

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